User Reactions Mixed For Google's Recent Gmail Mobile Interface Update

We talked last week about the updated Gmail interface that Google has begun rolling-out, and at this point, you should have seen the update reflected on your mobile device. For the desktop, you may have to hit-up the Settings menu and click "Configure inbox" to adopt the revised layout. Has Google's update hit the mark, or rubbed some the wrong way (as is so often the case with any revamp)? That depends on your perspective.

As soon as I was able, I adopted the tabbed layout for my desktop Gmail, and I have to say, I'm very impressed. I've only been using the beefed-up inbox for about a week, but I'm already in love. The organization is good, and Gmail has been so far very smart in deciding where to place things. At this point, I wouldn't want to go back to my old inbox style. That fact alone impresses me.

On the mobile side, however, I'm not quite as sold. It could be a matter of the change just needing to grow on me, but I'm just not feeling comfortable working with it. It's more attractive, sure, but at the same time it comes off as a bit busy. And, where on earth is the "Delete" option? Oh, right - in the menu, where it's an inconvenience for people who need access to it all the time. To be fair, the main button can be re-enabled (in the General Settings), but it makes you wonder - why did Google get rid of such an important function? Replacing the Delete option is "Mark Read / Unread"... great I suppose for those who don't mind thousands of emails in their inbox.

I wanted to wait a couple of days to see what others thought of the change, and was surprised to stumble on CNET this morning where Stephen Shankland expressed the exact same concerns. I then looked to Google Play, and sure enough, there's quite a bit of flak towards the lack of the Delete button. One user even went as far as to compare it to the *gasp* iPhone: "I am not a fan of the new GUI. If I wanted a set of iPhone features I would have bought an iPhone. This version looses the productivity of being able to delete and multi delete with a minimal number of keystrokes."

Again, the Delete button can be re-enabled in 2 seconds via the General Settings menu, so most of this vitriol is for naught. Still, it remains to be understood why Google would make the change, replacing it with what I'm sure is a lesser-used option.

It will be interesting to see if Google changes this in the next version rollout, but knowing the company's history, it's doubtful that anything will change. In reality, we should all probably be pretty relieved that Google has even given us an option to restore the button - that's not always the case.